Fly Zone
By Jim Green

One evening during the spring before the Iraq war, I was online chatting with other fly fishers about bonefish flies when one guy said he was in the air force and was about to be deployed to Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean. He said he heard that there were bonefish there and wanted to acquire some flies to take with him, but he also said he was leaving in five days. I told him I would be proud to express mail him some flies (how little can one do for our servicemen?). And I did.

A few weeks later, I got an email along with some photos that took 10 minutes to download (I thought my computer was about to crash - it just seized up!). It was the same serviceman I had sent the flies to. The photos were of him, his crew and his plane. It turns out he is Major Scott Zippwald, Aircraft Commander, USAF 93rd Air Refueling Squadron. He pilots one of those HUGE KC-135 tankers. He thanked me profusely for the flies and told stories of 15-30 lb. Trevally and 6-16 lb. Bonefish!!

Scott grew up in Washington state fishing with his dad for trout and salmon. Now here he was in the middle of the Indian Ocean on a small island where only military personnel or government contractors can go. It's a beautiful atoll island and Scott is the ONLY fisherman on the flat. Not being used to these fish, he's been broken off 30-40 times and after weeks, he still has not landed one - and he's about out of flies! So I send him some more.

In July, I received another email with photos of fish. BIG FISH! Scott also said he was sending me something in the mail to thank me for the flies and the support. Well, I received a signed picture of his plane in flight and a flag that was flown while in flight over the Iraqi Southern No-Fly Zone. What a wonderful gift.

We've been exchanging emails since and the fish photos keep coming. I received one today (included) with a pic of a bonefish with the fly still in its mouth... it's a big ole bright #2 Seaducer I sent him for the Trevally! Nobody told Scott or the bonefish that fly IS TOO BIG FOR BONEFISH!!!!

Scott says he's fishing every day after his flight; he says its his meditation time. Says he better enjoy it all he can, if this Iraq thing gets any hotter, he'll be living in a tent somewhere in the Arabian desert.